(aka 'The Silence of Lorna')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/dardenne.htm
France / Belgium / Italy / Germany 2008

 

Synopsis
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (THE CHILD) direct this drama about an Albanian woman torn between connections to three men and her own dreams. Lorna (Arta Dobroshi) is an immigrant living in Belgium. Though she has a boyfriend, her involvement with the Mafia leads her to marry Claudy (Jeremy Renier) so she can get citizenship. But her life is further complicated when she is told to marry a Russian criminal, putting Claudy's life in danger.

***

Lorna, a young Albanian woman living in Belgium, has her sights set on opening a snack bar with her boyfriend, Sokol. In order to do so, she becomes an accomplice in a diabolical plan devised by mobster Fabio. Fabio has set up a false marriage between Lorna and Claudy allowing Lorna to get her Belgian citizenship. However, she is then asked to marry a Russian mafioso who's ready to pay hard cash to also get his hands on those vital Belgian identity papers. Fabio intends to kill Claudy in order to speed up the second marriage. But will Lorna remain silent?

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 19th, 2008 - Cannes Film Festival

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DVD Comparison:

Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC

Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Drakes Avenue ('New Wave Films' Spine # 003) - Region 2 - PAL Sony - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:40:51 (4% PAL speedup) 1:45:20
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.24 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.32 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:  PAL

Bitrate: NTSC

Audio French / Albanian (Dolby Digital 5.1), French / Albanian (Dolby Digital 2.0)  French / Albanian (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Drakes Avenue

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Interview with Arta Dobroshi (14:57)
• Interview with Dardenne brothers (36:52 French with optional English subtitles)
• Theatrical trailer (1:29)

DVD Release Date:
April 6th, 2009
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 18

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical trailer (1:29)

DVD Release Date:
January 5th, 2010
Keep Case
Chapters: 12
 

 

Comments:

In reading Andrei Tarkovsky's, often opinionated, comments on other filmmakers - I often wonder how he would have judged the Dardenne brother's work. The Russian filmmaker had deep respect for the cinema of Robert Bresson - and this is certainly understandable. Luc + Jean-Pierre Dardenne have frequently been compared to Bresson and I suspect that Tarkovsky would revere these colleagues... equally. Personally, I found The Silence of Lorna as rewarding as any Dardenne films I have seen previously - even Rosetta which I still rate as one of my favorite of all time. The Belgian brother's work is as close to pure cinema as I have ever seen - I am often reminded of some of the Moral Tales by Eric Rohmer.  If I was forced to 'rate' Lorna would eclipse The Child and The Son and be on par with The Promise as personally impacting. It approaches my reaction to Rosetta. I found it more complex and dense than their work since Rosetta and I'd say it is the most memorable piece of cinema that I've seen so far this year.

***

ADDITION - Sony - December 2009: Sony have opted for the title "Lorna's Silence" as opposed to the more direct translation; "The Silence of Lorna" as appearing on the PAL DVD cover.

Despite the Sony being single-layered I find the differences not too extravagant between the two releases in regards to image quality. There are a few more, insignificant, artifacts on the Sony, and subtitles are has bright yellow instead of white. Most times it looks almost exactly the same but I will give a slight edge to the thicker Drakes Park edition even though, at times, the Sony can look a bit sharper. Also one of the releases has either been horizontally stretched (Drakes) with marginally fatter faces, or the other (Sony) has been vertically stretched with slightly thinner faces. I found this negligible in standard viewing.

The Sony only offers the 5.1 track and it seems to duplicate the Drakes surround option.

Unfortunately the Sony has no extras beyond a trailer and some Previews and, at present, the price tag is close to double the UK edition. Only those region-locked to '1' or who are ultra-sensitive to PAL speedup should get the Sony. The Drakes will be in my top DVD picks of the year. 

ON THE PAL (Drakes) DVD: I'm grateful to Drakes Avenue for the competent DVD transfers they produce - especially of important films like The Silence of Lorna. This is a progressive, anamorphic and dual-layered transfer but seems a bit frail at times with macro-blocking issues. If history repeats itself - a superior English-friendly DVD won't be coming along at all. Detail is adequate - perhaps a shade soft but outdoor sequences seem the most visually pleasing and there are only a few artifacts to hinder standard viewing. Hopefully the screen captures below can help you judge for yourselves the quality of the image.   

Audio offers the French/Albanian original track in 5.1 or 2.0 stereo flavors. The surround is hardly an issue but had a few separations mixed in. There are optional English subtitles which appear somewhat awkward at times in translation but this is probably close to the intent (my own French can't be trusted to judge).

Supplements include two interviews - a 38-minute French language one with Dardenne brothers (that is subtitled ) and a shorter one with star Arta Dobroshi - who definitely shares some qualities with Émilie Dequenne. There is also a theatrical trailer.

Although I know others won't always share my reaction - this is a vital film effort and I was enthralled with my viewing. Thank to Drakes Avenue and the Dardennes. For fear of mincing my words - I strongly recommend this DVD package. Would it be impossible to suggest a Dardenne Blu-ray Box set... one day... please?  

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus

 

Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT


 
 

 


Subtitle Sample

 

Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


Drakes Avenue - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Sony - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution Drakes Avenue ('New Wave Films' Spine # 003) - Region 2 - PAL Sony - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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